The Importance Of Ophelia In William Shakespeare's Hamlet

Superior Essays
Register to read the introduction… She goes from the control of her father, to the lover abiding by Hamlet, to the mirror image of Hamlet. David Leverenz points out that Ophelia “Thinking she is not loved by him, she becomes him, or at least what she conceives to him to be.” To revive Hamlets love for her, Ophelia imitates Hamlet. She has to imitate and assimilate with him through Hamlet. This is why Ophelia sings, “He is dead and gone.” Because Ophelia has adopted Hamlet’s madness, Hamlet, whose love for Ophelia has withered away, is considered “dead and gone” to Ophelia. Closer to the end of the play, Ophelia’s madness resembles Hamlet’s more and more. Laertes says that in Ophelia’s language “[t]his nothing’s more than matter.” Polonius had a similar response to Hamlet’s language stating, “How pregnant sometimes his replies are!” Indicating that both of their mad languages are somewhat incomprehensible to all other characters with in the play. Their language is referred to as “nothing,” meaning they speak with a void that can never be filled, namely the loss of their beloved fathers, but they with attempt to fill with the nothings of adultery. Evidently Ophelia is doomed to commit …show more content…
David Leverenz believes that “Ophelia’s downing signifies the necessity of drowning both words and feelings.” This backing up that Ophelia never feels that she is wanted or understood. Ophelia’s death is the final end of her struggle and madness. Whether her death has been suicidal or accidental, she manages to evoke Hamlet’s affection achieving her play long objective. Her death however has both innocent and corrupt overtones. She shows the innocence of women by drowning in a creek in a pure white dress. Water and white being symbols for purity and innocence. Yet, however he death may seem pure, it manipulates the male characters, Laertes and Hamlet. The death of Ophelia causes Laertes and Hamlet to dual. This ultimately ends in the death of both men, and other characters. In life, Ophelia was manipulated by the men around her, but in death Ophelia manipulates the men still

Related Documents

  • Improved Essays

    Hamlet's Madness

    • 981 Words
    • 4 Pages

    In the play, Shakespeare shows the difference between only acting mad and truly being mad. Ophelia, Hamlet’s potential wife and Polonius’s daughter, is a character that is truthfully mad. The difference between Hamlet’s act of madness and Ophelia’s real madness is, Hamlet acts senseless simply on purpose. Hamlet decides when he should talk or act crazy in order to help solve his father’s murder. Hamlet knows he can get away with asking people strange things while pretending to be mad.…

    • 981 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    While Polonius is warning his daughter, Hamlet is beginning to devise a plan to avenge his father; the first part of his plan being to feign madness. Hamlet, trying to fool everyone, acts crazy beginning to scare even Ophelia. Some, not believing Hamlet’s madness, decide to spy on a conversation between Ophelia and Hamlet. During this interaction, Hamlet purposely insults Ophelia telling her “I loved you not” (3.1.116), and “If thou dost marry, I’ll give thee this plague for thy dowry” (3.1.129). Here is when the audience begins to wonder if Hamlet truly loves Ophelia.…

    • 978 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Hamlet denying his love for Ophelia commences her emotional instability. When Ophelia approaches Hamlet rejecting his love, for the sake of her father’s wishes and plan to determine the source of Hamlet’s insanity, he replies, “You should not have believed me, for virtue cannot so [inoculate] our old stock but we shall relish of it. I loved you not,” (Shakespeare 3.1. 127-9). She still loves him, yet he is acting as if what they once had meant absolutely nothing to him.…

    • 1990 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Superior Essays

    For the majority of the play, Hamlet feels that the wedding between Gertrude and Claudius was a betrayal to him and his father. His anger and frustration that he feels for Gertrude soon starts to affect his relationship with Ophelia because he no longer has any faith in women as he takes on a misogynist perspective. Hamlet unfortunately takes advantage of Ophelia’s obedience toward men as he starts taunting her with cruel words to degrade her mentally. “Get thee to a nunnery, farewell. Or if thou wilt needs marry, marry a fool for wise men know well enough what monsters you make of them” (III.i.137-140).…

    • 1233 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Or, if thou wilt needs marry, marry a fool, for wise men know well enough what monsters you make of them. To a nunnery, go, and quickly too. Farewell [sic]. (3.1.136-140) Therefore, Hamlet is responsible for Ophelia's madness because he used her to prove his madness. Furthermore, we don't see any scene in the play Hamlet tells her that he loves her so she becomes pessimistic of his love.…

    • 868 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Throughout the play, Gertrude appears weak and depends on her new husband and her son until the end when she attempts to be independent, which leads to her death. Claudius and Laertes plan to put poison into Hamlet’s goblet in order to be able to rule without question. Claudius tells her to not to drink from the cup. Instead, Gertrude asks for his forgiveness then drinks the goblet not knowing that it is poisoned. The one time she does not obey Claudius causes her death, but does reveal Claudius’ plan to kill Hamlet and secures his…

    • 1172 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Great Essays

    In Hamlet, Shakespeare only includes two women in the play, they are both close to the main character, Hamlet, who sees both in two completely different ways and therefore treats them differently too, one with cynical love and the other with a regretful hatred. In Hamlet, Hamlet pretends to be crazy because he is plotting against his murderer of an uncle, Claudius, who killed his natural father and married his mother. From the statement of old King Hamlet, about his brother Claudius poisoning him, Hamlet smolders inside thinking that maybe his mother was a part of a conspiracy with her new found husband and had something to do with the murder of the old king. Hamlet is obnoxious towards his mother with back talk and sarcastic remarks, and later…

    • 1829 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Improved Essays

    In the novel, both Sibyl Vane and Alan Campbell commit suicide as a result from Dorian’s selfish actions. Dorian and Sibyl are very much in love, until Dorian realizes that he is in love with Sibyl’s acting, not Sibyl herself. Because he does not love her, Dorian breaks up with Sibyl, which breaks her heart. She cannot live without Dorian, so she commits suicide. He reflects on her suicide by saying, “She had no right to kill herself.…

    • 1217 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Claudius, Gertrude, and Polonius have several theories for why Hamlet is acting this way. Polonius confronts the King and Queen to tell them what he suspects is making Hamlet insane. He is convinced that Ophelia is the reason the Hamlet is mad; ever since Ophelia has ignored Hamlet, he has been acting strangely. Polonius states, “Fell into sadness, then into a fast, / Thence to a watch, thence to a weakness” (II.ii.154-56). Polonius is saying the Hamlet is depressed because of his love for his daughter.…

    • 1172 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Superior Essays

    This fault forms the basis for both Hamlet’s and the Ghost of Old Hamlet’s convictions of her and Claudius’ acts of incest and adultery. In Heilbrun’s literary criticism of Gertrude’s character, she agrees that the queen’s biggest flaw, her lust, carries great importance in the plot; however, Gertrude’s passion and lust should not define her character, as she also exhibits depth and intelligence throughout the majority of the play. I agree with this criticism; Gertrude conveys herself as a passionate woman whose lust drives her to hastily marry Claudius following Old Hamlet’s death, thus flawing her character and deeming her as dependent upon her husband(s). During the closet scene, Hamlet points out to the queen that her need for sexual passion has driven her from Old Hamlet, the “Hyperion” (3.4.66), to her new husband, “like a mildewed ear” (3.4.74), and that she has abandoned logic and reason in exchange for indulgence into these passions. Gertrude makes no objection to his accusations, proclaiming “Thou turn’st my eyes into my very soul / And there I see such black and grained spots / As will not leave their tinct” (3.4.100-102).…

    • 1024 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Superior Essays